One of the founding members of the Board of Visitors in 1992, Anita Smith has had a front-row seat for the health care revolution that has taken place in Birmingham and around the state over the past five decades.
Anita worked for The Birmingham News for 20 years, first as medical reporter, and then medical editor. Then she developed a consulting company to further chronicle Alabama health care.
Through her unique storytelling she has translated the clinical and professional accomplishments of nursing, medicine, public health and institutional health care to the people of Alabama, and for these contributions, Anita has a well-earned place in the annals of Alabama health care history —and a now, a much-deserved honor as a member of the Alabama Healthcare Hall of Fame.
Anita was honored at an induction ceremony on August 23, and is the only journalist represented in this distinguished group of health and medicine visionaries from across the state.
“If it weren’t for the UAB School of Nursing nomination led by Dean Harper and Dr. Juanzetta Flowers, this experience would not have been possible for me,” Anita said. “I was caught off-guard, actually blown away, when I received the letter. I don’t have to tell you how important the UAB School of Nursing is to me. And the one thing that makes me extra-happy over and above the honor itself is the fact that the nomination came from the UAB School of Nursing.”
Anita has written commissioned histories of Lloyd Noland Hospital, Carraway Methodist Medical Center, Village at Cook Springs, UAB School of Nursing, and Lakeshore Foundation, and currently is writing a UAB School of Optometry history and a UAB School of Nursing sequel.
Among her most significant contributions is that her book on Governor Lurleen Wallace’s cancer struggle aided the creation of UAB’s Comprehensive Cancer Center.
For more than 50 years, Anita has documented Alabama’s health care history and championed health-related education. But more than that, Anita is a key member of the School of Nursing family, serving on the Board of Visitors for more than 20 years and as a crucial member of the team chronicling the advances the School is making in nursing education and health care to improve health outcomes.
To Board of Visitors members and others who supported Anita’s nomination, she said, “I am delighted, honored, surprised, overwhelmed… all of those things at once. Thank you, dear friends, for the roles each of you played in pushing this forward after Dr. Harper made the decision to nominate me. I can’t tell you what this means to me.”